Gators end rally and losing streak

Florida squanders 10-1 lead but hangs on to beat Arkansas


Published: Monday, May 9, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 9, 2005 at 1:05 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Connor Falkenbach ended a four-run rally and put an end to Florida's four-game losing streak.
Falkenbach struck out Arkansas' Ben Tschepikow with the tying run on second as Florida held on for an 11-10 win on Sunday afternoon.
The Razorbacks led off the ninth with two singles and a walk off Gators pitcher Darren O'Day, who was then relieved by Steven Porter.
Scott Hode then singled to score Craig Gentry, and Clay Goodwin followed with a three-run homer to right field to bring Arkansas (35-14, 11-13 Southeastern Conference) to within a run of sweeping Florida (32-15, 15-9) in their weekend series.
Falkenbach then entered the game, giving up a double before striking out Tschepikow for his fifth save of the season.
Arkansas benefited from another big inning - a five-run fifth - to narrow the score to 10-6. Hode and Tschepikow had a pair of two-RBI singles in the inning.
Florida took an 8-1 lead in the fourth on Matt LaPorta's 18th home run of the season. LaPorta had three RBIs, and Adam Davis and Brian Jeroloman each had three hits for the Gators.
Starter Tommy Boss (6-3) got the win, giving up six runs - four earned - on five hits in 5 innings.
Arkansas starter Josh Smith (1-2) took the loss after failing to get an out after facing two batters in the second. He gave up four runs on three hits and three walks.
Goodwin, whose homer was his fifth of the season, had four RBIs, and Clint Arnold added three hits for the Razorbacks.
For Florida, Davis was 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBI, Jeroloman was 3-for-4 with two RBI and LaPorta was 2-for-3 with three RBI, including his 18th homer.
For the first time in eight games, the Gators opened the scoring with two runs on three hits in the opening fame. Smith (1-2) retired the first two batters before Davis legged out a bunt. LaPorta walked and sophomore Brian Leclerc stroked a single up the middle to give UF a quick 1-0 advantage. Freshman Brandon McArthur was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Jeroloman smacked an infield hit to short to provide the visitors with a 2-0 lead. Smith worked out of further problems by having junior Justin Tordi pop-up to second base.
Florida tacked on five more runs on three hits in the second frame to build a 7-0 lead.
Following consecutive walks to sophomore Gavin Dickey and senior Jeff Corsaletti to start the second, Smith was pulled in favor of freshman Lee Land.
Junior Stephen Barton was plunked on the knee to fill the sacks and Davis sliced a base-hit into shallow left for a three-run cushion.
A sacrifice fly by LaPorta allowed Corsaletti to come across and Land uncorked a wild pitch to enable Barton to come home. Leclerc continued the hit parade with a double down the right-field line to increase the lead to 6-0 and Jeroloman laced a two-out RBI single into left for the seven-run margin.
Arkansas got on the board in the bottom of the second on an infield hit by Goodwin that drove in freshman Brian Walker. Walker had led off with a double to left center and advanced on a grounder by senior Scott Hode.
Mired in a 0-for-8 series slump, LaPorta blasted his 18th homer of the season in the fourth off junior Devon Collis to give Florida an 8-1 lead.
The following inning, Davis lashed a triple into the left-field corner to score Dickey with his club's ninth run. Dickey had singled up the middle and moved into scoring position with his sixth stolen base. In the sixth, a wild pitch allowed McArthur to race home from third with the 10th run. McArthur had punched a one-out single before Jeroloman drew a walk. A fly-out by Tordi pushed McArthur to third and Collis' pitch to Dickey went awry to score the run.
The Razorbacks pulled to within 10-6 in the sixth courtesy of three hits and a pair of Gator errors. Boss hit the leadoff batter, junior Craig Gentry, and freshman Clint Arnold singled through the right side before sophomore Danny Hamblin walked on four pitches. With the bases full, Walker hit a grounder to LaPorta at first to score Gentry and Boss missed the bag for an error. Hode delivered a two-run single to center to narrow the gap to 10-4. Following a fly out by Goodwin, junior Darren O'Day took over on the mound for Florida. Soon after, a ground ball by junior Chris Hollensworth was misplayed, resulting in the bases loaded with one down. Tschepikow stroked a single up the middle to bring in two more runs and close the margin to four runs. O'Day struck out sophomore Stephen Robison and had Gentry to fly out to Corsaletti to close the inning.
UF increased its lead to 11-6 in the seventh on a two-out single into left by LaPorta that brought across Corsaletti. Corsaletti had opened the inning with his team-leading 11th double of the campaign off sophomore reliever Brian McLelland.and took third on a fly out by Barton.
In the bottom of the ninth, Gentry and Arnold poked back-to-back infield singles and Hamblin walked to load the bases, chasing O'Day (2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R). Sophomore Steven Porter caught sophomore pinch hitter Blake Parker looking on strikes but Hode looped a RBI single into right to score Gentry. Arnold was gunned down at the plate after a relay from Leclerc bounced off the runner at first and LaPorta threw a perfect strike to Jeroloman for the second out. Goodwin stepped to the plate and launched a three-run bomb over the left-field wall to make the score 11-10 in favor of UF and end the afternoon for Porter (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R). Hollensworth greeted Falkenbach with a double to the fence in right but the reliever countered with a strikeout of Tschepikow to close the game.
Florida resumes action on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with the start of its home-and-home series with South Florida at McKethan Stadium. The Gators and Bulls will meet the following night in Tampa at 7 p.m. UF will host Mississippi State next weekend in the SEC regular-season finale in Gainesville since the Orange and Blue finishes its league schedule at Vanderbilt between May 20-22.

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